Family Functioning and Predictors of Runaway Behavior Among At-Risk Youth
Adolescent runaway behavior is associated with a host of negative outcomes in young adulthood. Therefore, it is important to understand the factors that predict running away in youth. Longitudinal data from 111 at-risk families were used to identify proximal predictors of runaway behavior over a 12-week period. On average, youth were 14.96 years old, and 45 % were female. Ten percent of youth ran away during the 12-week follow-up period. In bivariate analyses, running away was predicted by poorer youth- and parent-rated family functioning, past runaway behavior, and other problem behaviors (e.g., substance use, delinquency), but not poorer perceived academic functioning. Results of a hierarchical logistic regression revealed a relationship between youth-rated family functioning and runaway behavior. However, this effect became non-significant after accounting for past runaway behavior and other problem behaviors, both of which remained significant predictors in the multivariable model. These findings suggest that youth who run away may be engaged in a more pervasive pattern of problematic behavior, and that screening and prevention programs need to address the cycle of adolescent defiant behavior associated with running away. Recommendations for clinical practice with this at-risk population are discussed.
KeywordsRunaway Family relationships Delinquency Adolescent
Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health under award number R34DA031910. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. The funding source had no role in the study design; collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; writing of the report; or decision to submit the article for publication.
Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health under award number R34DA031910.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest to report.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all parents who participated in this study and assent was obtained from all youth participants included in the study.
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